What I find most shocking about the world, is that I still find things that manage to shock me. Particularly in the realm of human stupidity, and social justice warriors behaving like fools. I often find myself saying “Wow, that’s got to be the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen” only to have it topped the next day by something even more ridiculous.
Last year I had heard about “Free Bleeding“. A movement of feminists who insisted that tampons and other feminine hygiene products were a form of patriarchal oppression. “Male dominated” companies marketing these products to women, to “shame” them for their periods and “rape themselves”
The Tampon is a MALE invention designed to OPPRESS women into RAPING themselves and spending their hard-earned money.
— Roaring_Womyn (@Roaring_Womyn) January 31, 2014
I am not ashamed of natural bodily functions. No longer giving my hard earned money to male dominated companies. Free Women #freebleeding
— Sweet Cooze (@CozyCooze) January 31, 2014
When I saw this happening, I remember thinking this was too ridiculous to be true. I never recalled seeing mass demonstrations against menstruation, a monthly biological inevitability for roughly half the population. Heck, I don’t even boycott vaginal intercourse during a woman’s period, put up the crime scene tape and let’s get it on!
Aside from my own sexual depravity however, there are very good reasons obviously not to be dripping blood and uterine tissue all over the place. Whenever anyone bleeds, for any reason, be it a nosebleed, paper cut, or gunshot wound, there is always a rush to clean it up and patch up whatever opening of the body may be the culprit of the leak. This is in no way unique to feminine hygiene products or menstruation, of course. Even disregarding the aesthetics of it, blood can spread disease, contaminate food, stain clothing, attract insects, to name just a few of the detriments of have blood carelessly spread about a place.
So, as ridiculous as a lot of feminist literature has sounded to me, this one just seemed entirely too absurd to take seriously. At the time, it turned out I was right. There had been a handful of posts on feminist blogs musing about “Free Bleeding” prior to it. One on “All About My Vagina” and another on Feministing.org, for example, but these were just the ramblings of a couple of lunatics. Not a mass movement or mainstream feminist thought. The tweets I posted above were part of a 4Chan prank to make fun of feminists, it was called “Operation FreeBleeding”.
The idea was to make an exercise of Poe’s Law, the notion that it is impossible to parody extremism without people taking it seriously. To spout off about ridiculous things and call it feminism, is sure to gain one both praise and scorn from the public. On the one hand people will think you are completely batshit out of your mind, on the other they will praise you as a radical thinker, and a warrior against oppression.
It makes for good laughs, if nothing else. But it’s all fun and games until somebody actually runs the London Marathon without a tampon. Kiran Gandhi, a self described feminist and drummer, says she ran the London Marathon with blood running down the insides of her thighs to “raise awareness about women who have no access to feminine products and to encourage women to not be embarrassed about their periods” according to People.